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Just how important has flavor become among consumers?
You can’t even use the terms “vanilla” or “white bread” to describe simple flavors anymore, since food-savvy consumers are now hip to Tahitian vanilla, split vanilla beans and Madagascar vanilla. Basic white sandwich bread is still on the shelf, but is buffeted there by all kinds of breads kneaded with different ingredients, from whole grain to flax to spices.
Researchers and prognosticators seem to agree. In its prediction of top flavor trends for 2013, for example, the Sterling Rice Group projects that sour foods, Asian comfort foods, savory fruits and flavored popcorn will be big this year and noted that adult influence on children’s food preferences continues in a big way (move over, grilled cheese and plain hot dogs).
Looking ahead, expect flavor to get even more multi-dimensional – literally. In its report on consumer trends to watch for 2013, Datamonitor cited increased interest in “3-D flavors,” which involve other senses, including touch, feel, aroma and general “entertainment” around the concept of flavor.
A look at recent product introductions and industry news confirms that the quest for flavor – across all dimensions – continues.